Thursday, July 21, 2005

Our Response to Islam's Jihad: Right Use of Power

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that it's the right use of power that will stave off the Islamic threat, right meaning in terms of the Catholic Church's definition of a just war. Catholic Answers has a great special report that gives us the backround of Islam and some possibilities to slay the "Islamic dragon."

Endless Jihad: The Truth About Islam and Violence

Now I know we art talking about terms such as "right" and "wrong," where in a relativistic world, these terms are recast into "your opinion" and "my opinion." I suggest we cast away the absolutism of relativism that afflicts us, and take on moral absolutism that has been with us from antiquity. Hmmm, the absolutism of relativism...a good observation!


At 7:51 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Although this doesn't deal directly with your subject, I wanted to share.

My mom gave me a copy of this just for you, Underground. We all collect antique books, and this is one of her favorites. It was published in 1910. It's called "How to Argue and Win" by Grenville Kleiser. Here's an excerpt (pg. 73, 74):

"If the Bible had been so explicitly worded as to have left no room for dispute regarding any of its meanings, the interest of the human mind in that wonderful book would have been much less than it has been for long centuries. It is a book that each man finds explicit enough - each in his own way. It has the gift of tongues, and each reverent reader gets his own direct personal message. But for the life of him one man can not see how another reads a meaning different from his own into certain passsages.

These two Chathamites, however, carried their religious and Christian differences to extreme lengths, for in the end one of them tried to choke the other, and was fined $5 for assault. This old - pre-Victorian - mode of enforcing a religious argument with the thumb and fingers on the windpipe of one who is found to be deficient in understanding is no longer approved by the civil, nor advised by the theological authorities. After a long and throrough trial it was agreed that while force may silence, it does not convince, an opponent in debate.

And yet, the way some men dodge, and twist, and squirm, in argument, and close their ears and minds to your cold, clear reasoning, makes one feel that an assasult on them at $5 and costs seems like a bargain.

There is an ocean of truth all about us, and he who would learn to argue and win must be many-sided. He will derive reasons alike from men, nature, and books. He will constantly be on the alert for new information and knowledge. He will remember the Bible injunction to "Try all things, hold fast that which is good." He will make it his business to know all he reasonably can upon subjects he essays to discuss. He will have ample reasons to support his claims. By throwing the portals of his mind wide open to the admission of light from all directions, he will steadily and surely acquire breadth of vision and catholicity of spirit. He will be too big to hide behind a prejudice, and too eager for truth to be indifferent to the smallest addition to his stock of knowledge."

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I appreciate your gesture, Saur!

As to the author Grenville Kleiser, I am not familiar with him or his work. The exerpt you shared does give me a little insight. As a former protestant minister, the greatest frustration I found not only within me, but with many of my fellow pastor friends is the individualism that plagues Protestant Christianity. Self-interpretation is the bane of Christianity for in it the individual Christian assumes the right and freedom to interpret Christ as he sees relevant. This idea in theological terms is "Sola Scriptura," a term coined by the early Protestant reformers that gave rise to many different denominations, to the point that now if counting independant non-denominational churches, you're looking at 30,000 different denominations in the world today. It is an ethic of division rather than unity.

If a parishoner dislikes what the pastor says about a teaching of Jesus for any multitude of reasons, he can remain in the congregation and live with the difference of opinion, confront the pastor, or leave the church. The protestant minister adopts a mentality that allows for this type of behavior but deep down is maddened by the fact that he has no spiritual certainty of the teachings of Christ from the Scriptures; he can only do the best he can and hope he makes an impact.

This is basically my story, but I know that there are MANY protestant pastors like this. They have accepted this as typical to Christianity and live in silent disappointment. They will not admit it but to a carefully select few. I speak from experience.

If you look in Scripture, there is no mention of denominations, for there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Body, one Spirit, etc. Oneness and unity is the theme and faithfulness to the body of teaching taught from the beginning is the measure of what is right and true. There is no mention of self-interpretation in the New Testament at all...none.

So the author of your antique book, from what I gather from what you've sited, is saying what would be normative for those who hold that varying opinions can both be right. I do not hold to that. That is an example of relativism that is plagueing our culture in general, and Christianity specifically. To ideologically battle Islam, one must see it as it is, a stripped down version of Catholicism. However, one must also embrace the reality of the truth being one, and that we can know it. What did Jesus say to Pilate before his scourging? "For this reason I was born, to bear witness to the truth." That is to our heart cry as well, dear sister in Christ.

Thank you again for your wonderful gesture. I appreciate it. I hope you don't mind my ramblings. I'm kind of writing on the fly, so feel free to give feedback and ask questions if I am unclear, which is usually the case.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I don't think the author was saying that both sides could be right, I just think he was saying that each person has his own interpretation of scripture and that the way to settle arguments about it is not via fisticuffs, no matter how tempted we would be. ;o)

My mother really gets a chuckle out of his Victorian style of writing. The part where he says This old - pre-Victorian - mode of enforcing a religious argument with the thumb and fingers on the windpipe of one who is found to be deficient in understanding is no longer approved by the civil, nor advised by the theological authorities sends her into gales of laughter.

You know, all my Catholic friends view the Protestant divisions (and continued divisions) with a degree of bemused wonder. Of course, the Catholics have had their own share of divisions (i.e. Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox), Anglo-Catholics ...)

I find that even among the Catholics you find everyone ranging from the devout to the 'cafeteria style' catholics. They just aren't as verbal, and don't break off, when they are in disagreement.

I think that this is the proper way to behave in a church setting. You may not always agree, but you must learn to work together and compromise when possible (as long as it is only a compromise in tradition and not in faith).

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

We Catholics have our divisions! Yet, we don't determine what is binding to our faith or moral practice by negotiation or compromise. There are other areas where there is always room to negotiate, but never doctrine and moral practice. The Catholic Church's magesterium, which is a compilation of Sacred Scripture and Tradition with the teachings of the Ecumenical councils and Popes along with the Bishops who are in line with the Pope and the councils. A bit much for a Protestant to understand at times. Perhaps it can be summed up as follows. The bishopric of Peter is a spiritual office that carries with it supreme authority here on earth from Christ himself; for with Peter rests the keys of the kingdom here on earth. This is a spiritual office that does not die away with the man, Peter, just like Judas Iscariot's bishopric didn't pass away with the death of Judas (for more info on this, read the first chapter of the The Acts of the Apostles). So as previous Pope's and ecumenical councils ratified by Pope's were done within the authority of the bishopric of Peter, the rulings and teachings of the councils never go away. They remain with the Church forever for Peter's office is with the Church forever. Enough of this.

So those Catholics who want to re-invent Church teachings or choose to follow as they pick and choose, are really defying the authority of Christ which He vested in the Church. So, we don't have the baneful practice of wrangling over which Church doctrine is to be obeyed. The Church herself defines for her followers what and how to walk in the teachings of Christ. She is very much in this instance, like a mother. This is very much in keeping with the writings of the apostles.

We, as individual believers, must use discretion to apply the teachings of the Church to our lives. But the final arbiter of the teachings of the Lord is the Church; which, in my own experience, gives me a sense of great peace and certainty. I don't have to worry about some smart-alek theologian to come along and undo what I've learned with his sophisticated treatement of the Bible. We don't lean on trends or fancy inventions. We also don't capitulate to a gullible and fickle culture that seeks to infiltrate and alter the doctrines and philosophies of a given religion. That is why you'll find a bulk of the pro-life movement, anti-euthanasia, anti-embryonic stem cell research, anti-invitro fertilization, etc. as propelled by Catholics. There will never be any negotiations or changes regarding these issues. Never.

So the only temptation to "block the windpipes" of others are with those Catholics who are not truly Catholic, or those who are opposed to Christ who seek to attack or destroy the Church.

Needless to say, it seems like it would make me feel better if I could just hold their throat for a few seconds, right Lord? LOL! We are hopelessly flawed human beings with the grace of God as our only hope! Aren't we?


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